When Faced With a Brave Idiot

I tried to get this conversation going at one point in the past, but I got no productive feedback. So, I’ll try again, because I’ve been struggling with this for a while.

You are with your training instructor, and he is putting you through hypotheticals. Your instructor is intense, so you don’t argue with him when he asks you to do something – no matter how many work-arounds you may have in mind. So, you’re foreclosed from arguing that your situational awareness is so good – 100% of the time – that you would never find yourself in this situation.

Now, here’s the hypo:

You are carrying concealed. You find yourself in a confrontation. The spot you are standing has no option for escape – other than by passing very close to your single potential attacker (PA). (Think closed end of an alley, or the no-door, no-window end of a hallway, or in the back of your cluttered garage.) Your PA appears somewhat intoxicated, and he is yelling all kinds of threats at you. He is smaller than you and standing 25 ft. from you. He is not moving towards you (yet, at least).

Fueled by adrenaline, you unholster your weapon, get into a low-ready position, and continue repeatedly shouting verbal commands for PA not to come any closer.

Fueled by liquid courage, PA says, “Perfect! I’m going to take that gun away from you.” PA takes his shirt off, does a little 360, and says, “See? I’m completely unarmed.” (Your instructor tells you that you are certain that PA is indeed unarmed – don’t argue that point.)

Now, PA then puts his arms up in the “I surrender” position over his head. Then, he begins taunting you: “What – you’re actually going to shoot me? While I’m unarmed?” At the same time, he starts walking towards you. “Go ahead, shoot me – I dare you.” He continues moving towards you slowly but steadily, taunting you the whole time. “Go ahead: shoot an unarmed man!”

So, what do you do? On the one hand, shooting an unarmed drunk is obviously questionable at best – both legally and ethically. On the other hand, however, this guys is acting completely fearless, and he seems truly intent on grabbing your gun from you. (Even if you had not unholstered your weapon, you are not 100% confident you could retain your weapon in a scuffle.)

So, if you do in fact subjectively fear for your life, that fear is based solely on the possibility of PA taking your gun away from you.

I ask this from not only a self-preservation point of view, but also from a legal one. A good attorney would argue that this became a potentially lethal situation only because you were carrying a gun – i.e., you are the one who created a threat of deadly force.

OK, let the discussion begin…


It only became lethal when you escalated the situation by presenting a deadly weapon at a time when your life was not in immediate grave bodily harm. Never let adrenaline dictate your emotions!
Hands up, walking towards you a good swift kick to the balls should allow you ample space and time to retreat! I’m no lawyer and I don’t play one on TV. But a jury will see you as the aggressor for drawing down on an unarmed drunk!
Talk and walk to rearrange your position, if PA is intoxicated, you have the advantage!


First thing coming to my mind, as I always have been repeating this - you never show your concealed weapon until you are ready to use it.
In this case, instead of deescalate you made it worse. Verbal commands are OK, they don’t need to be confirmed with firearm.
Smaller, unarmed, intoxicated… there is always a chance to pass over him…


serious bodily injury

(4) the term “serious bodily injury” means bodily injury that involves a substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty;

Most states allow deadly force to be used to prevent death OR serious bodily harm(injury). It does not take a weapon to inflict a serious injury.

The answer will be different for everyone, because people have different abilities. But those abilities do not change definitions.


Never draw your weapon until you have to.

Your concealed weapon is a defensive weapon. It’s not a deterrent. It’s not something to scare a potential attacker with.

Until you are in fear for your life, you do not draw your weapon.

The mistake you made in your scenario is to put yourself in a location with no way out.


If the gun was drawn and drunk guy decides to leave then the end result was achieved without violence. I understand not drawing till needed but dependimg on the individual they could have felt it was needed.

All we can do is the best we can. Everyday we are put in imperfect scenarios. We should do everything possible to limit or exposure time to vulnerable situations, however those situations are unavoidable


Pardon the bluntness. If you are stupid enough to pull your gun on a drunk guy you’re have no business carrying. But let’s assume you already did it. I think your best bet is to unload all of the bullets. Swallow them if you have to. But don’t shoot. You better fight like hell and hope you win. You can bulldoze right through him. If he stops you hit and kick until you stop hom. Last case scenario knock the crap out of him with the barrel and run.

Sorrow about the language. Just trying to add emphasis to the situation you put yourself in.


Personally, I’m getting a new instructor.


I agree with most who say you drew down too soon! In response to someone with a dose of loud mouth soup you introduced a deadly threat.

Only comes into play because the weapon is now in your hand. The situation is only complicated by the early draw.


Too many hypotheticals and assumptions here. Is the PA merely uninhibited to the point of acting aggressive? Is he struggling with motor control? Among other things, these are important assessments we would make before escalating to drawing our weapon. But we don’t get to make those assessments, because we’ve already been told that we’re fueled by adrenaline, and have drawn. The mistake has already been made, and we are already framed as not competent to carry.

I (as have many of us) have certainly been confronted a few times on the street by aggressive types, and have yet to be in a situation where I would have felt the need to draw.

So, sorry, I just don’t even buy into the scenario. The training instructor can’t say “this is who you are and how you’ve engaged,” and then ask “what do you do?” That question has to precede the initial action of drawing.


Your instructor put you in a no-win situation. Ask for a refund.


Ok let’s bring on the real HARD truths. We’re not all navy seal, green berets, pj’s, and so on!! If my wife is confronted in the garage in an inopportuned time I hope she drops the S.O.B. trying to harm my family. Let’s put aside the egos and assume for just one second that a drunk guy over steps his bounds. Drunk or not we ARE responsible for our actions not HIS. Their are people out there who in this exact situation would draw.

I will tell you you with my family in the house and a drunk individual starting trouble, you’d better believe my family’s safety is much more of a content the guy who got drunk and made poor decisions

I’m not perfect nor do I expect perfection from people, but we’re not all Rambo nor should we act like it but we are here for those who are trying to improve their situational awareness.


Like many others have said your instructor set you up to fail.

Unless you have a physical ailment that would put you at a dis advantage you drew to soon.

That being said…if that would happen to me in the same scenario I would reholster while not taking my eyes off him. I would then exit and if that means I have to steam roll him…that is better than a lot of alternatives.

Assuming he is intoxicated as stated…even a little bit will impair their judgement and reflexes which will give you an upper hand.


You know, that was my very first thought! I definitely understand the emphasis! We are here to assist new and old patrons of the gun! I’d rather someone bring up the adrenaline rushed hypothetical, than having to consult his lawyer or worse console any of the families involved!
But then I took another sip of my warm milk and thought, three things. First, it was a hypothetical and second, maybe he bought his gun yesterday, third, fire the instructor and seek out more qualified trainers.
But you’re right, his adrenaline rush says a complete lack of control of a difficult situation that could have turned into a deadly situation! Two words, Kobayashi Maru.


Just adding to the hypothetical, what if the drunk was pretending to be drunk? What if he was fully capable of disarming and causing serious bodily harm or death? How would you know? The what if’s are endless and we can debate those those to the world’s end.

At the end of the day my capabilities are different then everyone else’s, and one should not worry about best case scenario but worst case. At the end of the day, I am more capable then my wife. I keep her away from these forums for this exact reason. I do not expect nor hold her to the same standards I hold myself.

Nothing about this scenario is black or white. There is NO right answer.

There is MY right answer and YOUR right answer


Arguing with a drunk is like arguing with your wife. Do you actually think you will win? Everybody already spoke of drawing a gun is the first mistake. De-escalate your situation is your first and priority action to take. Do not argue with your wife, I mean with the drunk!


I agree. What always gets lost in these hypotheticals is a persons abilities. Maybe you’re stronger than me but I’m smarter or vis a versa, maybe I have self defense training and you don’t.

There is NO 100% right or wrong answer.

The cold hard facts, I expect my wife, a stay at home mom with 2 kids safety in her hands to draw AND fire well before me with military and public service experience.

My right response is not your right response and visa versa


The big what if is (as we all learn in our USCCA classes) what would a reasonable person conclude about our actions? Because it might come down to that, or 12 reasonable persons, anyway.


That is the great unknown. It took a long time for my wife to realize that we were graded on a different scale.

Fair or not is unimportant, I have had much more training and thought into a violent encounter then her, I want it to stay that way. I don’t expect or want anyone judged beyond their best intentions. Unfortunately that usually means someone else being judged on their worst days.

  1. I don’t pull my gun out. I call the police tell them that a drunk and aggressive man has me cornered and is advancing on me
    2 If he keeps coming at me and gets within arms reach, he gets introduced to my 2 get the hell off me friends.

I have enough back and other medical issues that I believe I can reasonably explain why I wound up using a knife on him instead of shooting him.